Don’t excuses really tick you off?
They get us fairly bothered.
And the world today is filled with them.
Some excuses are long, drawn-out affairs that take endless time to unfurl.
Then there is the shortest excuse in the book, the word “but.”
Yes, but I thought he was going to do it.
It was supposed to be there, but the truck had a flat.
I know it’s late but I thought the report was due on Friday, not Tuesday.
A number of years ago, my staff and I attended a training by Second City. You might not know that in addition to their improvisational clubs, they have a corporate division that teaches courses.
My decision to use Second City for improv training was to improve the ability of all wholesalers to think on their feet. It was a great session and, in addition to all of the fun, a key learning piece has stuck with me since that session.
During the training, the facilitator spoke about the importance of reframing the overused excuse word “but”.
She suggested that every time you were going to use the word, you should replace it with the word “and.”
Virtually everyone in that training understood her message loud and clear. From that day forward we all consciously reframed our speech to exclude the word “but”, replacing it with the word “and” wherever possible.
“And” takes responsibility for the error or omission, whereas “but” suggests you had no role in the issue.
There were unexpected outcomes of this simple change of language.
Excuses, and the use of them, fell.
Co-workers found themselves calling out folks that used the word “but”, knowing it was a tell tale sign that an excuse was about to ensue.
It is always memorable when employees, and their superiors, take ownership for errors – heaven knows we all make them.
There is also far less pain in “and” than “but.”